JACKSON, Mississippi (WLBT) – The Metrocenter Mall in West Jackson was once the largest indoor mall in the Southeast.
Built in 1978, the mall once thrived and attracted shoppers from across the state. But as more and more malls appeared, Metrocenter began to die, officially shutting down in 2018.
In 2020, the mall was bought by Emily Seiferth-Sanders.
The purchase of Seiferth-Sanders brought the promise of exciting things, but its past has raised some concerns.
In 2013, she was convicted of false pretense and served time in Jefferson County.
By the time she bought the mall, she was on probation.
Again, the purchase is made and the new owner has made some big promises: retail stores, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, games, luxury apartments and more.
In April 2021, 3 On Your Side returned to the Metrocenter to see the progress.
White’s Perfect Kutz and Styles was operational and several other stores had merchandise, but remained closed. The food court was a ghost town.
Now, in July, there is still little progress being made outdoors, parking is in poor condition, and landscaping is non-existent.
Inside, White’s Perfect Kutz and Styles was still working, but not the air conditioning.
Fans were scattered around, including just outside the only restaurant open in the food court.
Eventually, 3 On Your Side was approached by Devonte Tate, who identified himself as the Marketing Director of the Metrocenter Mall. He said Seifeth-Sanders was not available to speak, but a big announcement was ahead. He also asked our crew to leave.
“People want the mall to thrive. I understand that. One simple thing to do, when you leave Krystal … stop throwing away your trash. Stop making the place worse than it is, ”Tate said.
Tate said the mall’s air conditioning had been out of order for months and says it was broken when Seiferth-Sanders bought the mall.
The air conditioning was functional when the WLBT teams visited in April.
He had no answer as to when the mall would be operational.
“Well, you know, to be completely honest, I don’t know,” Tate said. “You have to give me this. I can’t sit here and give you a plan of what people can do.
He says it would help if the community collectively supported the Metrocenter business. Without specifying how, he said such support would give Seiferth-Sanders more time.
“It would give the leadership time to make all of these other things take a long time,” he said. “National retailer contracts – these things take a long time, especially when you’re trying to take the mall from scratch and do something with it. So, just a little while.
In fact, it has been more than 500 days since Seiferth-Sanders announced that it owned the interior of the mall. Video from that day and months later shows little change.
One thing that has changed are the legal issues at Seiferth-Sanders. Since buying the mall, she has been sued by two different people.
Roger Thomas, Sr. with Eco Environmental Services is suing for just over $ 67,000. He claims to have worked on the parking lot and a road belonging to the Metrocenter and says he was not paid.
Christopher Jones has filed a similar complaint for twice as much.
Jones is suing for $ 156,000, claiming he provided money, services, labor and materials to improve the mall itself and that he was never paid for his work.
He said Seiferth-Sanders had promised to pay him in January 2021 but had not received any compensation.
Both depots are asking to place a mechanic’s lien on the mall in hopes of getting their money back.
They are not the only ones seeking to be paid either.
Seiferth-Sanders still owes property taxes on the Metrocenter. Due to the first of the year, Hinds County tax records show she owes Hinds County more than $ 86,000 for the still unimproved property.
Seiferth-Sanders never answered any call requesting an interview for this story.
She only owns the interior of the mall. The City of Jackson leases the water utility, Burlington is independently owned, and the old Sears is still for sale.
Seiferth-Sanders is also paying $ 700 in restitution for his conviction in Jefferson County.
Our goal is to continue to monitor the progress of the Metrocenter and provide timely updates when new information becomes available.
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